To Cultivate Good Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, HCSB)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. – (Galatians 5:22-23, VOICE)

As we nourish our spirits with the goodness of God’s word and spend time seeking Him to teach us and grow us, He cultivates this sort of fruit within us. We discover love and joy, peace and patience, kindness and goodness, faith and gentleness, and our self-control rises up. Though people decide they are opposed to following Christ, I have never met anyone who was opposed to being on the receiving end of the fruit that Christ within us produces. Perhaps the opposition that people feel stems from those who claim to follow Christ, yet do not spend time with Him and give God room to transform them more into His likeness. If none of the Spirit’s fruit is evident, then the soil of the heart is parched and unable to produce the good fruit. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for it is through our time with Him, that the soil of our heart is nourished and good fruit is produced to share with those around us.

Lord, help us seek You,

With ev’ry new day;

And grow within us,

Fruit that shows Your way.

Water and nourish,

The soil of our hearts;

As You produce fruit,

Your ways You impart.

Let Your love and joy,

Peace and patience too;

Kindness and goodness,

And faith that is true.

May Your gentleness,

And great self-control;

Show others Your heart,

As You we extol.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the fruit of Your Spirit is not something that we have to try to grow on our own, but rather is something that You plant within us and cultivate as we continue to come before You to listen and learn. Forgive us for thinking that we can just try to be better and do better, and that somehow, the fruit of Your Spirit will rise up within us. Show us what it is to give You our whole heart so that You can transform us into who You created us to become. Lead us to love as You do, in ways that make Your fruit evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to continue to grow Your fruit well within us, so that we can extend Your nourishment to those around us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. – Romans 14:19

Each A Part

For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body – so also in Christ. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, HCSB)

A person has only one body, but it has many parts. Yes, there are many parts, but all those parts are still just one body. Christ is like that too. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, ERV)

Just as a body is one whole made up of many different parts, and all the different parts comprise the one body, so it is with the Anointed One. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, VOICE)

People in a community are created with the same intention as the parts of the body. Each one of us has been created with a unique purpose, passions and strengths. When we come together, we can accomplish far more than we can on our own; we need each other to function in a way that is whole and complete. Though some strengths are seen and obvious, others are behind the scenes, each helps contribute to keeping the body running. When I consider the different communities to which I belong, this truth is evident. Since my current reality is school, it is an easy comparison to this passage. It takes every staff member to make each day run smoothly, and each of us contribute differently. Additionally, because we have different strengths, talents, personalities and the like, we are able to reach different kids. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to do our part and operate in the strengths He has given, and work together with those around us to contribute to the whole group, functioning as we were intended. 

We all are a part,

Of a greater whole;

Made to contribute,

To each fill a role.

Working together,

Our strengths are made known;

Each with a purpose,

Where goodness is shown.

Lead us together,

In kindness and grace;

To work together,

Build a safe, sweet space.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each of us with purpose and strengths that make a community complete. Thank You that each person is needed to function as the group was intended. Forgive us for the times that we have stood back or stayed stuck when we were meant to press on. Teach us to trust You more so that we would work together in the communities to which we have been called. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the ways in which we all have been uniquely designed and how You place us together in communities. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keep(ing) the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.

– Ephesians 4:2-3

Love and Acceptance Unite Us in Peace

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, HCSB)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue as you are, letting peace hold you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, ERV)

Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, VOICE)

As I have been pondering these verses this morning, I did a quick search on humility. The best explanation I found was by C.S. Lewis, as he stated, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but it is thinking of yourself less.” If we raise our eyes and look around us, we are able to see others and how we might love as God intended. Gentleness comes alongside another without pushiness or demands, but rather it is simply seeing a need and quietly doing what we can without making a big deal out of it. Patience and acceptance with love is meeting people where they are, as they are, and choosing to love. As we do these things, God’s peace is present and we are able to be united in love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in humility, gentleness and patience, so that we might accept one another in love and be united together in His perfect peace.

O Lord, please show us,

To look out and see;

Those all around us,

To love patiently.

Grant us Your goodness,

And gentleness too;

Patience and kindness,

To show Your heart true.

Lead us to accept,

Each other in love;

In peace, unite us,

By Your grace above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be humble, gentle and patient with each other. Thank You that as we do these things, we become united together and Your peace reigns. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked humility, gentleness or patience. Teach us to trust in You to lead and guide us in Your love for each other. Show us how to care for one another well so that Your love is evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love in ways that promote unity and make Your peace evident. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8

Answer Gently

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder as the end of the school year draws ever nearer, and exhaustion is at an all-time high. Patience wanes when weariness is prevalent, and it is important to remember what matters. I have both seen and experienced the truth of this proverb, as I have both calmed and been calmed when a gentle response has been given in a moment of anger. Similarly, I have been both the provider and the recipient of a rough answer, and such is never well-received. If we are truly choosing love, our response to people must align. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to respond gently in love, so that anger dissipates and kindness reigns.

Tender the answer,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

That turns away wrath;

Kindness defuses,

As good we enact.

Gentle responses,

Lead us to calm down;

Extending God’s love,

To those all around.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To gently respond;

Take a breath, listen,

In love, correspond.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your faithfulness as we choose to respond gently to tempers inflamed. Thank You that the fruit of the Spirit are the things that keep relationships intact and communication open. Thank You that You call us to be gentle and kind, for each time we have received these things in a moment of anger or frustration, the fury melted away and calm came forth. Forgive us for the times that we return anger with anger. Teach us to slow down, take a deep breath, and listen to Your leading – for Your response in loving, patient and kind, and brings peace in the midst of frustration or fury. Show us how to love one another in all situations and circumstances so that we would answer each other gently and in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us always answer gently and with love so that Your heart may be clearly seen. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control… – Galatians 5:22-23a

With Kindness and Compassion

And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, HCSB)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through the Anointed, our Liberating King. – (Ephesians 4:32, VOICE)

If we were to approach every human interaction with kindness and compassion, and were quick to forgive others in the same way that we are forgiven, people would understand the heart of God. We know not the battles that others are facing. Just last week there were five major losses or concerns that weighed on me as the week unfolded. Each day, it seemed, I was met with news of a tragedy or a major medical concern among family and friends. Thankfully, my concerns were met with kindness and compassion and grace. The sort of human-interaction that was extended to me, I was in turn, able to extend to others. When we are intentional to seek God, He shows us His goodness and love, even in the midst of heaviness and heartache. This morning, as I prepare to attend a memorial for a friend’s husband, I feel equipped with kindness and compassion, ready to extend help and hope where so much has been lost. May we continually seek the Lord in all things and at all times so that we might extend the same kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness that we are given through Him.

The Lord is gracious,

Photo by Anna Tarazevich

He’s loving and kind;

Full of compassion,

In Him, we align.

He forgives our faults,

Calls us to the same;

As we extend grace,

We honor His Name.

O Lord, please lead us,

To love as You do;

Ever forgiving,

As goodness shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be kind and compassionate to one another, full of forgiveness and love. Thank You that You not only show us these things over and over again, but You equip us to go and do likewise as we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked love, compassion, kindness or forgiveness when interacting with those around us. Teach us to seek You first to fill us and lead us in Your love. Show us how to extend kindness, compassion, forgiveness and love in tangible ways to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to lead us to love as You so completely love us all. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Moms Model Love

Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. – (Colossians 4:6, HCSB)

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response to everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

This is the epitome of my mom and her mom before her; gracious, kind and wise. No human ever always has the right answer, but I think great moms come awfully close. These two women, as well as some incredible mother-like figures in my life, have modeled God’s love with the way that they speak with grace, kindness and love. It has never been unkind, but the truth is ever spoken in love. At times, the truth was to correct or redirect, but always with my best interest in mind. I am forever grateful for the gift of mothers in my life, and today, it seems only fitting to celebrate and honor them. May we ever give thanks to God for the gift of moms and mother-figures that He grants unto us, and seek Him to lead us in their likeness.

Let conversations,

Be filled with God’s grace;

Kind and with wisdom,

In every place.

For His love’s made known,

Through how we choose speak;

Actions and kindness,

Ever let us seek.

Seek to be loving,

Through every word;

Good spoken in love,

It’s how love is heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of mothers and mother-figures who model Your love with words, actions and their very existence. Thank You for the blessings in my own life that have come through my mother, grandmother, youth leaders, church mommas, and incredibly wise and wonderful friends throughout the years. Forgive us for the times that we have not followed the example set before us and have spoken with a lack of love. Lead us to always speak with love, kindness and grace. May Your words lead the searching to see Your face and enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek You to ever lead us in Your love with every word we speak and all that we do. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Cultivate Beautiful Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, HCSB)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. – (Galatians 5:22-23, VOICE)

The fruit of the Spirit is always sweet and in season. God cultivates His fruit in us to nourish, encourage and more clearly reflect His heart to the world in a way that is sweet and pleasing to those around us. When we live life according to the fruit that Christ plants and grows in us, the people around us come to know His heart as they experience His nature offered through us. May we ever pursue the Lord and His fruit, so that we may be nourished to extend the same nourishment to others. 

Lord, please grow in us,

The fruit of Your love;

Unconditional,

These gifts from above.

For love, joy and peace,

Patience, kindness too;

Display the Lord’s love,

And make our hearts new.

Then there is patience,

And kindness that’s true;

Goodness, faithfulness,

God’s fruit to pursue.

Add His gentleness,

And true self-control;

Ways to make love known,

Through fruit that we show.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and empower us to grow in and live out the fruit of Your Spirit. Thank You that all of these things are already seeds within us that need Your nourishment to grow and bear visible fruit. Thank You that as we are intentional to pursue You, You cultivate Your heart for the world in us. Forgive us for neglecting to give You access to grow us to be more like You. Show us how to tend to the fruit You are calling us to grow in, for You are faithful to prune, water and nourish us so that we bear beautiful fruit. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to share the fruit of Your Spirit with everyone around us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace. – James 3:18

Teach Us to Love

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accept one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, HCSB)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

This is how we are called to love one another. Love is a choice that has to be made again and again. Humility and gentleness take the time to truly listen and seek to understand. Patience propels us to persevere, to accept each other with love, especially those who are more difficult to love. As a middle school teacher, I am provided plenty of opportunities each day to practice doing just this. The kids who act out the worst are typically the ones who need patient and loving acceptance the most. Some days are easier than others, and most days are exhausting. That being said, God does not call us to an easy life, but to one of purpose that is rooted and established in love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip and empower us with His love, so that we may go forth each new day in humility, quiet patience, gentleness and generous love.

Lord, teach us to love,

As You love us all;

Lavished with Your grace,

You hear all who call.

Call on Your goodness,

Seek patience and peace;

Accept each other,

Frustrations released.

Equip us to love,

The challenging ones;

May goodness and grace,

Point hearts to the Son.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to love as You intended. Forgive us for every time that we lose sight of what You are calling us to, and we allow our emotions or frustrations to dictate how we respond to one another. Lead us to seek and depend on You for strength, help and hope as we navigate each new day. Show us how to love as You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love you and depend on You to show us how to love best. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

But when we obey God’s teachings, His love is truly working in us. This is how we know that we are living in Him. – 1 John 2:5

A New Creation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God… – (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly everything is new! All this is from God… – (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! All of this is a gift from our Creator God… – (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, VOICE)

When we give our hearts to God, He makes us new in Him. Beauty replaces ashes and hope rises from our spaces of despair; in Christ, all is made new. This does not mean that the struggles and trials disappear, but it means that we come to know that we never need to navigate them alone. We discover that even in the midst of darkness, we have the Light that cannot be extinguished. The Holy Spirit equips us with peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, love, self-control and joy. All of these things and more, grant us hope to persevere and pursue a life lived in love. May we ever seek the Lord and embrace the new He places within us, so that we might live and love as the new creation that God has made way for us to be.

United with Christ,

Our lives become new;

Hope everlasting,

Through love that is true.

In Christ, hope rises,

For He is our peace;

The Light in darkness,

Where goodness won’t cease.

He brings us beauty,

Where ashes once stood;

Hope out of heartache,

In Him there is good.

Good that delights us,

That brings what we lack;

Presence unending,

Love never held back.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are a new creation. Thank You that You forgive us, redeem us, and make us new in the light of Your love. Forgive us for not seeking or for not embracing all that we have in You when we invest our hearts and lives in You. Teach us to trust and seek You in all things, for You are our hope and our help in all things. Lead us to love those around us as You do. Show us how to share Your hope, light and love with everyone we meet through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the new we become in You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – Galatians 5:22-23

Give Us Grace

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, HCSB)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with the virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

Because we are His created, we are all dearly loved. We cannot be holy on our own, yet because of Jesus, He sees us as holy through the lens of His Son. As a result of God’s great love for us, we too ought to seek to love in the same way. To do so, we must be compassionate to others, show kindness to all, be gentle and humble, and patiently unoffendable. In order to live like this, we need to understand and know the depth and breadth of God’s love for us so that we may extend the same to those around us as it overflows. God knows our human limitations. He provides where we are lacking, and grants us wisdom and grace to keep pursuing to live life as He intended. May we all embrace the grace that lies before us in a welcomed long weekend, and may the Lord strengthen us and grant us the rest we need to continue to keep loving others as we are called to love.

O Lord, give us grace,

To love others well;

Compassionately,

May our kindness tell.

Tell of Your mercy,

Show people Your grace;

Be not offended,

Choose love anyway.

Seek understanding,

Be humble and kind;

Love one another,

With heart, soul and mind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that we are created to love as You love. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do in our own strength, for surely we would fail miserably if that were so. Thank You that You supply the strength, grace, kindness and love that we need to live as Your beloved children. Forgive us for all of the times that we have moved in our own strength and fallen short. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and Your faithful love knows no end. Teach us to live and love as You do. Show us how to have heartfelt compassion that gives grace, mercy, kindness, gentleness, and patience that is not offendable. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they come to understand the power of Your great love. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You to lead us to love well. Amen. 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

This God, our God forever and ever – He will always lead us. – Psalm 48:14